Dramatic decrease of carnitine esters after interruption of exogenous carnitine supply in hemodialysis patients

Judit Bene, Botond Csiky, Istvan Wittmann, Endre Sulyok, Bela Melegh
Renal Failure 2012, 34 (5): 555-8
L-carnitine supplementation is extensively used in patients on maintenance hemodialysis (HD) to improve dialysis-related clinical symptoms. In a series of studies, we investigated the dynamics of carnitine pool in carnitine-supplemented HD patients; here we report dramatic decrease with special changes of the ester profile due to interruption of the exogenous intake after the last HD session. Serum samples were collected from 18 L-carnitine-repleted end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients before the L-carnitine supplementation, after completion of a carnitine supplementation period treatment (12 weeks, 1 g/IV/HD), right before the HD session, and 44 h after the dialysis. Levels of free carnitine (FC) and the individual esters were determined using electrospray MS/MS technique. Normally, L-carnitine supplementation causes significant elevation of all carnitine compounds to supraphysiological levels, which reaches a standard steady-state-like profile. In this study we found a dramatic decrease in the level of FC, and in short- and medium-chain acylcarnitines (ACs) 44 h after the last dialysis. At the end of this interdialytic period, FC levels increased to only 65% of the predialysis level, whereas the amounts of C2 and C3 esters recovered to only 50%. The level of C6 was 65% of the predialysis level, whereas the amount of C8 chain length ACs returned to 72% of the predialysis level. No significant change was seen in AC concentrations above C10 chain length. Omission of one single dosage of supplemental carnitine in long-term administration schemes results in dramatic decrease and reprofiling of carnitine esters even after the usual 44 h of interdialytic period.

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